Freedom in Christ
These people are springs without water, mists driven by a storm. The gloom of darkness has been reserved for them. For by uttering boastful, empty words, they seduce, with fleshly desires and debauchery, people who have barely escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them. 2 Peter 2:17-19 CSB
Peter wraps up the chapter with a final description of the false teachers. “These people are springs without water.” False teachers provide nothing of substance. This metaphor would resonate very well with Peter’s audience at the time, because wells were necessary for life in the desert. “Mists driven by a storm,” means that even if they had the ability to provide good advice, it would only help temporarily. What a disappointment to people who, having endured a drought, finally see storm clouds from which they expect abundant rain. But the storm pushes along swirling clouds that are waterless. So, the false teachers cause excitement in the community but offer nothing that is substantial and worthwhile. In a sense, they bring misery. In the end, “the gloom of darkness has been reserved for them.” The opposite of darkness is light. “God is light” (1 John 1:5) and those who believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, to them was promised, “will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). What Peter was referring to in the passage isn’t just a simple dark room, but “the gloom of darkness” which means hell, the final place of eternal punishment and torment. These false teachers “utter boastful empty words with fleshly desires and debauchery,” words that would entice new believers. During this time, worship at the pagan temples included sexual acts. The false teachers would corrupt the concept of Christian freedom by saying that these sexual acts are acceptable, which would be very tempting to “people who have barely escaped from those who live in error,” the new believers. In a twist of irony, by the false teachers promising freedom, they actually promote slavery to sin and sexual addiction, “since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them.” Following the false teachers may seem enjoyable at the time, in the big picture of life, following their path leads to destruction. The only way to experience true life and freedom is following Christ, as written by Paul in Galatians 5:1, “For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Freedom in Christ means that we have been set free from the bondage of sin for Christ fulfilled the law. We obey God’s commands as an expression of gratitude to what He had accomplished for us. This is why when we received Christ in our lives, we submit to His will and if we don’t, we will be mastered by whatever we obey. “Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness?... and having been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness” (Romans 6:16, 18).
Isaac De Guzman